While I am still trying to get thru our 2013 adventures, I have also been doing a lot of planning for our trip to Alaska in 2014. I intend to break the planning process down in to a number of parts. This post will deal with our planned destinations and the planning process that went in to them. Future posts will deal with the trip north from Hawaii, weather, clothing and emergency preparations – it has all been a great deal of fun.
At any rate, in this post, I will cover our planning for cruising destinations once in Alaska. This all begins with cruising guides. There are obviously an enormous number of guides out there but many are not worth the paper they are written on. Many thanks to John and Sandy Henrichs (FPB64 Tiger) who live in Seattle and have cruised the inside passage and Alaska extensively. They recommended the best of the best in terms of cruising guides.
Our planned routing takes us direct from Hawaii to Kodiak. While there are not many guides on Kodiak, John had some good recommendations and, along with our ever present British Admiralty Sailing Directions for the whole of Alaska down to Vancouver and the west coast of the US, that will serve us well. Frankly, we have found the British Admiralty Sailing Guides, along with their companion tide tables and radio signals, to be invaluable. As an aside, the sailing guides are conservative so we have never encountered anything worse then they suggested and the tide tables are on the mark. The electronic variety on MaxSea and on Furuno NavNet are neither accurate or in agreement. In short, we don’t rely on Furuno and MaxSea and we wouldn’t leave home without the Admiralty tide tables.
(Update July 2014 – Needless to say, we did not get to AK this year. New plan is for 2015.)
The cruising guides that John Henrichs recommended are the best.
The three EXTENSIVE guides by Don and Renee Douglas cover everything from Southeast Alaska to Vancouver in a detail that can hardly be imagined right down to various itineraries from sprints to the ultimate trip. Comprising over 1500 pages in total, there isn’t a cove, nook or cranny that isn’t covered.
In the case of Prince William Sound, John recommended a guide by Jim and Nancy Lethcoe. It is not easy to come by and your best bet is to contact Nancy in Valdez for your copy. Used copies on Amazon go for over $150. The guide is marvelous and I was honored to have the chance to talk to Nancy in the process of obtaining the guide and, as a consequence, suspect we will be spending most of our summer in Prince William Sound and then sprint down to Vancouver. Southeast Alaska and BC will have to wait until 2015.
At any rate, reading the guides and planning our trip has been a wonderful fireside activity here in Pittsburgh. As I read thru the guide to Prince Willaim Sound (with over 3000 miles of shoreline), I marked down every point of interest and cove that I thohgt we might wish to visit. I then fired up MaxSea and plotted every location and waypoint and named each after that page in the guide book.
The red dots represent the best of best and there are so many others as secondary waypoints that I suspect we could spend a few years there.